Skip to comments.Not Letting Dad Die
Posted on 09/24/2010 2:20:17 PM PDT by Headline Bistro
The fact that you are reading this indicates you escaped the abortion holocaust. But dont relax yet. We are all candidates for the growing euthanasia movement.
These oft-repeated words of Msgr. William B. Smith, one of the Churchs best moral theologians until his death last year, came to mind as my father lay in the emergency room and a grave-faced doctor called me, my brother and our mother aside for a consultation. Since this was a top-rated yet secular hospital, I was already reviewing in my mind all I knew about Church teaching regarding ordinary and extraordinary care. But I was not prepared for the ease with which this doctor suggested that we let my dad die peacefully.
My father (still living, thank God, at age 83) suffered a bad fall at home in late August and was rushed to the hospital across the street, where he underwent surgery for a broken femur. He then went to a Catholic rehabilitation facility, where he was progressing slowly in physical therapy when he developed respiratory problems that landed him in the emergency room of another hospital.
So there we were with my dad in pain, barely breathing and unable to speak being pulled aside by an important-looking specialist, as doctors, nurses and interns rushed in and out of the room. He assured us that dad was very sick, and tried to bring us into his confidence by adding, But you already know that. I thought to myself: We do not know that; no one has told us anything definite yet. In a voice that seemed more rehearsed than sincere, he said that we could treat dad aggressively (which sounded rough in his throat) or opt for comfort care (which sounded warm and fuzzy). This is a decision point, he stated. Since my dad does not have an advanced medical directive, we would have to decide whether to insert a breathing tube (aggressive) or simply keep him warm, clean, fed and comfortable until well nature took its course.
Wow! No one had told us even what was wrong with dad or how serious his condition was, and already this M.D. was suggesting that we let him slip away with comfort care.
What kind of doctor are you? I demanded, trying not to sound too insulting. I thought he might be the appointed euthanasia specialist, and was shocked to learn that he was the head of the intensive care unit.
Well, if youre in intensive care, dont you think you should treat him intensively? I said, again trying not to sound too critical.
Of course, he assured, this is the familys decision. He mentioned something about New York state law and concluded, Are we all agreed then on inserting a breathing tube? My mother, my brother and I all agreed. You can always change your mind as we go along, he reminded us. Then he offered a final warning: When people this age fall down and have complications after surgery, lots of bad things usually happen. Somewhere in his flurry of words we heard the term quality of life. My brother told him that our dad had rarely gone out of his apartment in the past four years, so his quality of life was not very exciting to begin with. If he spends the next few years in a wheelchair doing his crossroad puzzles and watching Jeopardy that will be good enough for us, my brother said, again trying not to insult.
It was not a pretty sight as they stuffed breathing and feeding tubes down my fathers throat. They drew the curtain so we couldnt watch. But my dad surprised them all and got off the respirator in three days. Hes breathing fine on his own and being treated for an infection that is going away. Hes still a little confused and sees people in the room who arent there, but the doctor says these hallucinations may be from the trauma of the past month and being confined to a bed for days on end. We pray hell be out of the hospital soon since they are finding fewer and fewer reasons to keep him.
I often think how different things could have been if family members were not so attuned to the tentacles of the culture of death, or if a couple of sons were more interested in their inheritance than in seeing their father living with the high-quality love of family and friends. And what if an elderly spouse, already stressed and confused by the whirl of the emergency room, unwittingly agreed that comfort care sounded better than being aggressive because no one wants to see a loved one suffer? Even my mom could have agreed to something she really didnt want in the rush of the moment.
I wont mention the name of the hospital because other than that one incident in the emergency room, my dad has received great and compassionate care. But I want to thank the late Msgr. Smith, for warning so often about the growing euthanasia ethic, which now has cast a pall over the practice of medicine everywhere.
Death eaters never sleep.
Everyone should have an advanced directive. Don’t leave this decision on the shoulders of your loved ones when they are emotionally upset already. (And certainly don’t leave it on the shoulders of those who you thought were your loved ones, but turned out to be selfish brutes.)
We shouldn’t be required to fill out a form requesting our basic rights. What ever happened to just not killing people?
On the other hand, I had a heart attack from electrolyte imbalance after being sick with a stomach virus for four days. The cardiologist wanted to put in a metal stent (I’m allergic) and told my kids I might not make it out of the hospital alive if he didn’t.
I refused, my kids refused, my sister (who has my medical power of attorney) refused on the basis of my allergy, which the doctor ridiculed.
I left after four days, and that was two years ago. The stent would have failed and inflammation would have killed me, you HAVE to be careful with doctors.
Government mandates have made these situations very difficult for physicians, damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
Wait ‘til you get a taste of electronic medical records. It’s more than just putting your info on a hardrive. My husband has quit after two weeks at a government funded clinic because he was spending his day with his face stuck on the computer answering all the questions the software forces him to answer. He couldn’t tell you what the patient looked like after the visit. Questions included guns in the home, stds, (clinic is fighting questions re: sexual preference).....
We’ve got to get government out of medical care.
We need tort reform.
So doctors and nurses can deliver the quality care they really do want to provide.
This is not about killing people. This is about continuance of care.
That’s a pleasant enough sounding euphemism.
Thats a pleasant enough sounding euphemism.
Probably. My FinL had end stage emphysema in the mid seventies. His only option was to be tethered to a resperator for short time of extra and painful life. The family discussed and decided not to continue to that level of care and he died the next day.
Some technology needs to be discussed.
Pnemonia is known as old man’s friend for good reasons.
And let me know if any trolls show up.
The last few times we’re seen our doctor, it was clear that he was very concerned about the future of medical care. He is a gifted, compassionate man who spends all the time we need with him and then some. We left his office deeply touched by his commitment.
Isn't that why we're all on this thread?
Some technology needs to be discussed.
Excellent. You start. :)
My father-in-law went to the hospital for a short stay. Tests revealed he was full of cancer, and desperately ill.
His oncologist had to deliver a lot of bad news. Words fail to describe his ability to explain the details of Earl’s disease, and yet with incredible sensitivity and kindness.
About 10 years ago my mother had to go to the emergency room. All they saw was a sick old woman, who looked like she was at death’s door.
She had only been in the ER about 30 minutes when I arrived and was met by a doctor just outside where she was being worked on—tubes being inserted, etc.—and he started talking about pulling the plug. I loudly and adamantly informed him that I didn’t want to talk about pulling the plug as she had only been there for a short time and anyway, she would walk out of there.
Side note: My mother later told me she heard everything that was said and my comment that she would “walk out of there” was very powerful.
She lived another 10 years or so and what was her contribution to society during those years?
She became a foster mother for her 7-year-old granddaughter for about six months. She gave love, guidance, wisdom and devotion to her five children for those years. She played the organ every Sunday at her church Sunday School for those years.
She gave a home to two of her grown but slightly off-balance children for those years. She cooked for them, too. She gave me the opportunity to care for her and look after her for those years. She painted my bathroom, she gave and received gifts, she shopped, she annoyed me sometimes, she made me laugh, she made me think for those years. She kept her roses blooming so I guess she brought beauty into the world during those years. She was a magnificent grandmother for those years.
I don’t know if the powers that be would think her life for those last 10 years was a waste of resources, but it certainly wasn’t to her family.
There are still doctors and other medical professionals who believe in the Hippocratic Oath. May God bless them.
I'm not a doctor, but I know they can severely struggle with telling someone of an impending death. However, I can't help but wonder if justifying euthanasia is philosophically pushed to help mitigate the Doctor's angst, and that is not a reason for anyone to die. If in doubt, doctors need to "Buck UP!" They are not veterinarians after all.
You were blessed with her, as she was with you. It is my firm belief that we must be advocates for our loved ones when they are most helpless. Relying on the goodness of others can be a grave mistake.
This is an excellent line, and I will use it when my parents talk about "quality of life."
It means one thing when the person is still able to recognize that his family and friends love him, and another if he knows that *someone* is showing him love ... but it still means something to those who love if the object is apparently unreceptive.
It does a good job in safeguarding both essential rights: the right to receive care and not to be killed (e.g. by deliberate starvation/dehydration) when in a weakened or disabled condition, and at the same time the right to decline or refuse interventions which are futile or intolerably burdensome.
That's just my summary: check it out and you'll see it's a very sound document.
I really think everyone should discuss this with their nearest-and-dearest, and also get a document like this signed, notarized and on file, so that your kinfolks (or worse, your doctors, or even worse, some dicey hospital ethicists) don't get stuck in the really awful position of guessing and debating just what it is you would want.
And it's always the right time to think of your Quality of Love.
I have that saved in my “favorite links,” to be used on some occasion when I’m not thinking dead would be better. These flashes do come ...
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Great read, and here's this from the article:
But I want to thank the late Msgr. Smith, for warning so often about the growing euthanasia ethic, which now has cast a pall over the practice of medicine everywhere.
And please take note of Mrs Don-o's comment 23.
Killing isn’t medicine.
Yes indeed, killing is not medicine.
I have a dear old friend whose story I have told on FR a couple of times.
Her husband, whom she was separated from (he had not been faithful, over time, and she had seven children at this time) got in a terrible auto accident far from where she lived. He was in FL, she was on the other coast. He had lost part of his brain in the accident and was in a coma, on life support. They wanted her permission to pull the plug.
She flew to his bedside along with a few of her older children and prayed. He was really, messed up. The answer given to her was “Give him a chance”. So she said “NO!” The docs told her he’d die no matter what. He didn’t die.
Then they said said he’d never recover from the coma.
He regained consciousness.
Then they said he’d never be anything but a “vegetable” and would never talk.
He talked - his first words were “thank you”.
He is now walking, talking, able to do tasks, he can think, recognize people, write poetry, help garden - he has lost his good looks, his incredible intelligence (computer programmer) and his physical strength. But due to the unconditional love of his wife, he has gained humility, appreciation and gratitude, and he now loves his wife dearly.
He told me that he is thankful he had the accident, as it changed his life for the better - and his relationship with God is now so improved that instead of being a rebellious soul riddled with doubt, he is a faithful, happy servant of God.
Just remembering this story brings tears to my eyes.
All because his wife prayed, and stood up to those who wanted him to die.
While at his bedside for several weeks until he regained consciousness, she read scripture, prayed and sang to him, and slept in his room.
Are we all agreed then on inserting a breathing tube? My mother, my brother and I all agreed. You can always change your mind as we go along,
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Not in a Catholic hospital, you can’t.
Once the tubes are in, they stay in. The family may want them out. The Doctor can even agree. But the Catholic hospital will not permit it.
love that response!
Government mandates have made these situations very difficult for physicians, damned if they do, damned if they dont. Wait til you get a taste of electronic medical records. Its more than just putting your info on a hardrive. My husband has quit after two weeks at a government funded clinic because he was spending his day with his face stuck on the computer answering all the questions the software forces him to answer. He couldnt tell you what the patient looked like after the visit. Questions included guns in the home, stds, (clinic is fighting questions re: sexual preference)..... Weve got to get government out of medical care. We need tort reform. So doctors and nurses can deliver the quality care they really do want to provide.
Lord Jesus, you healed so many people during your public ministry. I bring before you now, in prayer, all those who are terminally ill -- those afflicted with cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses.
Look lovingly and compassionately upon them. Let them feel the strength of your consolation. Help them and their families to accept this cross they are asked to carry. Protect them from euthanasia, Lord.
Let them see you carrying their cross with them, at their side, as you once carried yours to Calvary. May Mary be there, too, to comfort them.
Lord Jesus, I know and believe that, if it is your will, you can cure those I pray for (especially N.). I place my trust in you. I pray with faith, but I also pray as you did in Gethsemane: your will be done.
Bless us, Lord, and hear my prayer. Amen.
|Reprinted from "Queen of Apostles Prayerbook" with permission of copyright holder, Pauline Books & Media,|
I wish there were a Catholic hospital where I live. Just on general principles!
Yes, government intrusion at it’s finest! I didn’t include that this government funded, rural clinic includes a school clinic. The school clinic only treats minor illnesses, but those students are subject to the same intrusive questions.
Johnny is seen for a cough, but is required to answer if there are guns in the home? Are they secured? And it all goes into the computer.
Rural areas are desperate for medical care. Without federal funding this clinic would not exist. But it’s a big price to pay.
Horrible. There was an article on FR just a few days ago about this sickening sexual orientation stuff being mandated in all gov health clinics such as the ones in schools. It wasn’t law yet but it sounds as though they’re already doing it.
None of their ****ing business if people have guns in their homes.
Another reason to home school.
My Dad's 3rd career was Paramedic. During my Mom's last illness she wanted aggressive medical treatment except for ventilator and other more painful measures. Dad and I had a very good conversation. I asked him what he would want under similar circumstances.
He said he would go for every thing cause God might perform a miracle through the doctors. So we fixed up a directive, which I never showed to any of his doctors, just in case of misinterpretation. I also had a general and durable power of attorney over everything including finance and medical.
I gave them copies of the power of attorney and when they asked about an advanced directive. I just told them that I had everything I needed from a legal standpoint to make any and all decisions. I explained that if there was a chance of any kind that he could get well enough to be discharged from the hospital they were to do everything they could.
We had some good doctors who did not feel like his age was a reason to try less. However, the last month of his life was the worst. He too was recovering from a fracture and in physical therapy at a swing bed unit of a small hospital.
They let his blood Inr get too low(too thick) and he had a stroke, and went back to the metropolitan hospital.
He was also suffering from a resistant lung infection, when he went on the ventilator. Less than a minute after he went into ICU, a little rat-faced guy(looked like an arab) was in my face telling me to unplug him cause he had no chance.
After 2 weeks Dad got better, but not as well as we hoped. He was told he had two choices, insert a permanent feeding tube, and a tracheotomy, and go to a vent-weaning facility, or just be comfortable and give up.
He declined both choices. He asked to try to breath on his own, and still be given all his medicines and antibiotics. They made it clear that he could not go back on the ventilator. This is a code yellow. When I came back from the cafeteria, he had a purple bracelet(comfort only). I got this changed.
Unknown to me his lung specialist came in saw the yellow bracelet read the chart and was under the impression that Dad had given up and he was no longer needed. His antibiotics were stopped.
This mistake was uncovered by his cardiologist about 3 or 4 days later. The pulmonologist came in and ordered a lung culture, on Friday (in my opinion-knowing that the results would not be known till Monday and likely to be too late). Dad died on Sunday.
I was told that he would not last more than 4 hrs off the ventilator. He lasted a week. Also, every time I turned around they had some excuse to turn off the nutrition drip that was feeding him through his nose. His chances weren't good, but most of them weren't really trying to save him-just going through the motions.
This hospital was great during his previous admissions, but he was never in level one ICU before. The nurse told me that most people that go in don't get better and go back out to level 2.
They either go to the vent weaning facility within 3 days, or go off to the comfort only rooms. More than half the people that came in during that month, decided within 2 days to go to comfort only. ICU is no longer focused on saving lives. It is focused on getting the people out of ICU as soon as possible, especially old people before the hospital goes too far in the red.
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“Everyone should have an advanced directive.”
Well, we all know about living wills and the “do not resuscitate” clause, etc., etc. But what the previous poster recounted was much more complex than that.
I fear that we’re only beginning to see the Orwellian trend, especially if Obamacare is allowed to stand.
“Weve got to get government out of medical care.”
But hopefully, that can be reversed. We need to get government out of our personal lives (and wallets), period.
VOTE, everyone - get as many others (who care about liberty and the constitution) as possible to do likewise - we DO still have power!!! (At least for a little while longer.)
What a beautiful story, thanks for sharing. Bless both her soul and yours. Life is a treasure and we never know what gifts we may give to others.
BTW, this thread reminded me, I want to correct a previous post I’d made about my late grandma’s friend (who was mentioned on the Today Show by Willard Scott). I posted that she was 116, but she’s really “only” 110. :-)
Too many people don't want to face their own mortality and just leave those decisions they cannot make to someone else...I was only 50 when I made out my will, trust, P of A. My husband died young, at 51 of his one and only heart attack with no previous sign of heart trouble...
I wasn't going to leave my family to make decisions that were my responsibility...many may disagree, but being a nurse I have seen what some family's have to go through making decisions that they were not prepared to make.. just my opinion and others probably disagree....
My children were told to answer “you will have to ask my mother or father abut that”.
I had a similar experience last Nov at a major university hospital.
My mother would have been sent home and medicated to death, but I demanded they treat the pneumonia and get her off some of the meds they had her on.
She was brought her in on a stretcher, barely responsive, rattling with pneumonia. A few hours later she was sitting up in the bed talking. The OR dr said this is amazing. My reply “no she missed her 8PM meds”.
Before she was admitted I had a very ugly scene with a dr not her dr but another one in the practice who told me I needed to accept facts and just let her go. I demanded they admit her and treat the pneumonia. In the end they did as I wanted and my mother was sitting up in bed talking and laughing the next afternoon when my brother flew in from deployment. Yes she had a terminal illness, but her last wish was to see my brother who was due to arrive the next day. Nothing nor no-one except God would have stood between me and my fulfilling that last wish. She has since passed away but she was with us through Christmas and the New Year eating her favorite pumpkin pie surrounded by family and friends. Maybe not what that dr thinks of as good quality of life but what gives any dr the right to decide that for any patient? The patient and family should decide.
All I can say is be prepared to fight because the death panels already exist. Be careful when choosing a doctor, a hospital and a hospice. Have the end of life discussions early in treatment so everyone knows what you want and believe.
My children were told to answer you will have to ask my mother or father abut that.
My father was terrified of hospitals, never went to the doctor.
He was old, he was dying, and he was in the hospital. My dad was alert and all that, but in that bed he was a scared, confused child. All I wanted to do was wrap him in a warm blanket, take him home, and calm his fears.
He was too overwhelmed to make decisions.
The last seven months of my mother’s life, our roles reversed and she was my child. It was heartbreaking, but I am comfortable with the decisions I made and the battles I waged on her behalf. She had the best care I could provide and died at home with those she loved.
That was the response my children were told to give if any doctor or teacher asked about guns in our home.
I agree. Have you see Mrs. Don-o’s post at #23?
I have read many of Mrs, Don O replies on many articles and she always gives excellent advice...an admirable lady...
I could not agree more.